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Where it began

Recently, my brother James Millham of Esterhazy, gave me a copy of your Looking Back column from a July, 2007, issue of the Miner-Journal. I've often enjoyed reading such historical tidbits, but to see myself as the subject of one from fifty years ago set me back a little. I'm referring to the item about Red Cross swimming and water safety instructions at Bird's Point, Round Lake, with myself as the instructor assisted by Reverend MacDonald of Whitewood.
Some of your readers, I'm sure, were among those in the Red Cross swim classes, and they might be interested to know that I continue to be very active in water sports.
In 1958 and 1959 I taught swimming during the summers at Bird's Point and other locations on Round Lake, and also at Spy Hill and at York Lake, near Yorkton. In 1960 I joined the Royal Canadian Navy and was soon trained in scuba diving. Although my primary duties in the Navy were as a Naval Airman, travel with the Navy gave me the opportunity to enjoy Scuba diving and swimming in such exotic locations as the Caribbean Sea, Bermuda and the Mediterranean Sea.
After leaving the military I had careers in transportation and government in Victoria, BC, but diving, and ocean related activities had become my passion. In the 1970s and 1980s, I taught scuba diving and was involved in underwater salvage operations, ocean research and wreck diving expeditions in British Columbia.
It was inevitable, I suppose, that eventually I would turn to scuba diving for a livelihood, taking on a marketing and sales role in the early 1990s with a South Pacific dive-cruise company based in Solomon Islands. Now totally immersed (pun intended) in the diving industry I regularly traveled to, and dove and explored, in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Honduras and Mexico, as well as my home waters of British Columbia. My Mexico dive expedition earlier this year was ten days of high seas Pacific diving with sharks and giant manta rays in the Revillagigedos Archipelago 240 kilometres west of the Mexican coast. My next dive expedition in January, 2008, is three weeks in the Raja Ampat Islands in eastern Indonesia. This will be new territory for me and I wonder how it will top sharks and giant mantas.
Solomon Islands, Mexico, Honduras, Indonesian, those waters, and the activities there, are about as far removed from Round Lake as you can get, but for me, that's where it began. Now when I return to visit friends and family in the area I always spend a little time at Bird's Point. Round Lake is a lot smaller than I remember. The Qu'Appelle Valley hills aren't as high or as steep, either, but when I stand on the beach at Bird's Point I can still recall the sights and sounds of swimming classes 50 years ago. I never imagined that my few weeks at teaching swimming back then, would set my pattern of activities for so many years to come.

Allan Millham Victoria, BC

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